Being a bit of a dress addict, I don’t often wear trousers or separates other than my jeans on casual days. I’ve been wanting a pair of 40s style trousers for ages. I’m quite fussy and having a long body, I prefer trousers that are very high waisted. I recently tried the 40s Style Swing Trousers from Pretty Retro in the Denim Blue colour way. These are a great start to building a staple wardrobe of vintage style separates and they are definitely a very useful addition to my wardrobe.

I love the simplicity of these trousers, which also come in navy and red. They simply fasten at the side with a row of three buttons and this really helps to create a great fit. They are light enough to hang well and are cool enough to wear in the summer. They are made from a poly, viscose and elastane blend, giving them just enough stretch to fit comfortably.

I opted for my usual size 14, having checked the size guide on the Pretty Retro website. I was really impressed that they were spot on fit wise and the stretch really helped to get that perfect fit. The trousers are quite long at 31″, which is why I opted for heels, I have also worn them with my flat brogues and they worked pretty well too.

The trousers are just one part of the fabulous selection of separates from Pretty Retro, who are the sister company of well known repro brand House of Foxy. In addition to the pair I tried they also have a great selection of simple trousers, capris and skirts alongside some lovely tops and blouses to go with them. Most things come in black, navy, cream and red, so you can mix and match the looks. The range is perfect for both wearing to vintage events and for everyday things like work and casual days. They are also perfect to mix in with a wardrobe of original vintage items.

I’ve had quite a few things from Pretty Retro now and I’ve always been so happy with the quality. My favourite thing about their clothing is the attention to detail that goes into the designs. Although their styles are quite simple, things like gathers and tucks and good quality materials really make them stand out from other mid-priced reproduction brands. Although I still, need to get used to wearing trousers, as they’re a little out of my comfort zone, I’m really looking forward to trying different tops and shoes with these and mixing and matching my looks. I’d also really like to get them in a darker shade as well. The trousers I tried are priced at £42 and can be bought online from the Pretty Retro website.

*Thank you to Pretty Retro for sending me this dress for the purposes of review. All opinions as always are my own. 

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As an avid collector of original vintage, there are certain brands that get my heart all aflutter. One of these would have to be Horrockses. The brand made beautiful cotton dresses in the 40s and 50s and even dressed the Queen in their stunning ready to wear collection, I wrote a post on her Horrockses outfits a couple of years ago. Even back then the dresses were very desirable and were a very special addition to women’s wardrobes.

The brand have been much discussed and written about a lot in recent years and have been part of some major exhibitions. A few dresses from Horrockses have passed through my hands over the years as a dealer. I’ve even found a couple for under £5 at car boot sales in the past. Online they sell for big money these days and as most are safely stored in museums and collectors wardrobes they are now reasonably scarce.

The main problem for me, is that they don’t really come in my size. The main collection was only ever made up to a vintage 16, which is a modern size 12. So as a size 14 I just can’t fit into them. When this dress popped up on a Facebook selling page in my size, I just had to snap it up. I was especially happy to get my hands on this one, as I was quite familiar with the print, having seen it in books before. Apparently certain shops did stock Horrockses dresses in slightly larger sizes, so they are out there. One day I might find another!

I found this particular print in Christine Boydell’s book Horrockses Fashions – Off the Peg Style in the 40s and 50s. It was designed by Alastair Morton in 1947 and as far as I can tell the dress was produced in 1948. Christine recently wrote a post featuring this design on her blog, which is a really interesting read and goes into more detail than I could on here. In fact her whole blog is a fascinating read if you’re interested in vintage textile design in general.

The dress cost me £75, this is pretty cheap for a Horrockses dress and this was mainly because it has seen better days. The label is missing, the zip is broken and it has a fair few marks on it. Luckily it is still totally wearable and I just adore it. It just goes to show you shouldn’t give up on a vintage item just because it isn’t perfect. I bought the dress from Liz who’s blog Advantage in Vintage is an incredible resource, she also has a ridiculously large collection of Horrockses dresses. Her Etsy store is also a bit dreamy!

I’ve worn the dress with a cropped cardigan from Tu Clothing, which I picked up last year. I’m wearing the Mimosa shoes from Hotter which I got recently, they are a cute comfy wedge that will look great with some of my vintage summer dresses. My basket was a recent £5 bargain from Ikea and my necklace is an original vintage one. I wore the outfit for a stroll around Richmond and a pub lunch with my dad last week.

I wear a lot of modern and reproduction clothing for everyday, as a mum I find it more practical, but it is lovely to wear some of my really special original vintage pieces and now that the weather is warmer, these will be appearing a lot more on the blog. I’ve also been sharing a lot of my everyday outfits on my Instagram over the last few weeks.

As for Horrockses, after its heyday in the 40s and 50s they continued to make dresses into the 60s and 70s, but those classic cotton and full skirts were a thing of the past. The brand name was recently licenced to another company who have made a selection of dresses based on the original prints. The dresses are available on Asos, but are made with duchesse satins and have a lot less fabric than the originals. As dresses I really love them, but I’m not sure they pay a true homage to the stunning original designs. I did think they were worth a mention though, as they would look fabulous for events. Click on the images below to see them in full. (above pic via Pinterest)

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black-friday-weekend

Last year I trawled through all my favourite reproduction vintage sites to share all the best deals for Black Friday weekend. I know loads of you found it really useful, so I thought I’d do it again this year. I’ll be updating the post throughout the weekend, so keep checking back to see what I’ve found.

I’ll have a 15% off sale on my Etsy shop which has original vintage clothing and jewellery.

Clothing:

Lindy Bop have some great deals across the site, so now is a great time to grab that beautiful dress that you’ve had your eye on. I’m loving all their novelty prints at the moment.

lindy-bop-black-friday

Collectif have 25% off most of the site. I love so much of their latest collection and there are definitely a few things I have my eye on. Use code BLACKFRIDAY16

Pin Up Girl Clothing are offering 35% off, which makes some of their more expensive pieces much more affordable. definitely time to stock up on those Jenny skirts!

ChiChi Clothing have 30% off using the code 30BFCC

Dolly and Dotty have up to 60% everything across the site.

Lady K Loves have 15% off all orders, their Hug Me Baby jeans are amazing. In fact I’m wearing a pair right now!

Lady V London have up to 60% their range of vintage style clothing.

lady-v-london-black-friday

Campbell Crafts have 25% off with the code BLACKFRIDAY they have lots of lovely reproduction vintage from a selection of brands.

The Pretty Dress Company have some absolute bargains on their range of lovely elegant dresses.

Voodoo Vixen have up to 50% there selection of pretty vintage style clothing.

Hell Bunny have up to 30% off selected items on their site.

Rock My Vintage have up to 60% off.

True Vintage:

Love Miss Daisy has 15% their range of original vintage using code NOVEMBER2016

Rokit have up to 30% off in their sale.

High Street:

Boden have 30% off across the site and free delivery. Although not a vintage shop, I always find great dresses and tops that work really well in my vintage wardrobe. Use code F6P8

Cath Kidston have up to 40% off their lovely range.

Lingerie:

What Katie Did have lots of discounted items from their range of reproduction vintage lingerie.

House of Satin have 30% off their lovely vintage style lingerie using code BLACKFRIDAY30

Accessories and Jewellery:

Splendette have some great Black Friday deals on the lovely reproduction plastic jewellery.

Luxulite have lots of Black Friday specials on their lovely vintage inspired plastic jewellery.

Brighter Bakelite have 25% off many of their restored original vintage Bakelite jewellery.

Shoes:

Miss L Fire are also taking part with some great discounts on their collection of vintage style shoes.

calypso-red_1

Hotter shoes have 25% and free delivery. As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Hotter shoes and have quite a few of their vintage inspired collection.

Clarks have 20% off across their site. Using the code BMERRY16

Beauty:

The Vintage Cosmetic Company have 30% off everything on their site.

Benefit have 20% off everything using the code BLACK20

I’m adding links all day so check back soon to find out what else I’ve found.

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Over my years as a vintage seller and collector, I’ve built up collections of lots of different things. We all know about my Enid Collins bag habit, and some of you may have seen my aprons and kitchenalia collections. Some of my collections have come and gone, I don’t like to keep things that I don’t use and I like to only have as many belongings as I can store.

embroidered-brooch-collectionI thought I’d share a few of my collections on here with you, starting with my embroidered brooches. Some of my collection is stored away at the moment, but I still have plenty in my normal jewellery storage, which I don’t wear nearly as often as I should but I do like to enjoy.

vintage-embroidered-broochesI first started collecting them back in 2009, when I was regularly selling at vintage fairs. I’d pick one up whenever I spotted one, I was also collecting painted porcelain brooches at the time too.

vintage-floral-embroidered-brooches-2I recently started collecting again and my small collection has really started to grow recently. I really like that no two pieces are the same. The idea that someone sat and carefully stitched them is so lovely as well.

vintage-floral-embroidered-broochesI also like spotting designs that are very similar and were probably made from the same kit or pattern. I love how one set of stitches are neater than another.

vintage-embroidered-brooches-purple-flowersMy collection has come from mixture of vintage fairs, car boot sales and Facebook selling pages. None of them was particularly expensive and I think the most I’ve ever paid was £12, so they’re a really affordable vintage item to collect.

vintage-embroidered-picture-broochesAlthough the majority of the embroidered brooches I see are floral designs, its always nice to find something more unusual or quirky. I’ve seen the above willow pattern a few times, but the cute little horse is unusual.

vintage-embroidered-brooches-birds-and-rosesAlthough it isn’t embroidered the little painted bird pictured above is one of my favourite brooches and looks like it belongs in this collection, so I always keep them together. I also love my two petit point rose brooches, the teeny tiny stitches are amazing.

vintage-tapestry-embroidered-broochesI don’t know much about the background or history of these and although I like to do research on all my vintage things, I’ve never got very far with these. So of you know anything about them or have any references, please let me know.

Since I took the pictures for this post, I’ve picked up a few more embroidered brooches, so look out for an updated collection post very soon.

What vintage things do you collect?

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This weeks sees the return of one of my favourite events. The Olympia Art and Antiques Fair, brings together some of the worlds finest antiques dealers, with some truly show-stopping items for sale. Olympia pays hosts to the event for the second time this year with the event running from 31st October until 6th November.

I popped along to the preview evening to take a look around and feast my eyes on what can only be described as treasure. If like me you love history and antiques, you’ll appreciate the museum quality of some of the pieces on display. Will items prices from the hundreds to tens of thousands there really is a broad mix of items on offer. Items range in date from the early 20th century all the way back to ancient times.

Here are a few pictures of some of my favourite pieces from this years fair.

olympia-art-and-antiques-art-nouveau-tilesA stunning selection of art nouveaux tiles from Richard Hoppe

olympia-art-and-antiques-art-deco-bronze-nude-sculptureAn art deco bronze sculpture by Josef Lorenzl circa 1930 from Jeroen Markies

olympia-art-and-antiques-fair-embroidered-stoolA pair of embroidered stools from Peter Bunting

glass-vases-solo-antiquesSome beautiful glassware from my favourite stall Solo Antiques

olympia-art-and-antiques-japanese-tangarinesJapanese fruit sculpture from Marina Oriental Art

olympia-art-and-antiques-wooden-cherubsOne of a pair of cherubs, that I spotted at the last fair and absolutely loved. 

If you’re looking to make a big purchase, or if you’d just like to look around and appreciate all the beautiful things, I’d definitely recommend a visit to the fair.

Find out more on the Olympia Art and Antiques Fair website.